Facebook will ban Faith Goldy, Soldiers of Odin, the Canadian Nationalist front and other hate groups from across its platforms, the company said on Monday.
The ban will extend to any associated Facebook groups, pages or Instagram accounts, including Kevin Goudreau, Wolves of Odin, and the Aryan Strikeforce.
Facebook said the individuals and organizations have expressed white nationalist sentiments and violate its policy on dangerous individuals and organizations, which bans “terrorist activity, organized hate, mass or serial murder, human trafficking, organized violence or criminal activity.”
The ban comes after the social media giant has come under renewed scrutiny for allowing racism and hate to flourish on its platforms, and weeks after the terrorist attack in Christchurch, New Zealand, which was broadcast live on Facebook.
“Individuals and organizations who spread hate, attack or call for the exclusion of others on the basis of who they are have no place on Facebook,” the company said. “That’s why we have a policy on dangerous individuals and organizations, which states that we do not allow those who are engaged in offline ‘organized hate’ to have a presence on Facebook. The individuals and organizations we have banned today violate this policy, and they will no longer be allowed a presence on our services. Our work against organized hate is ongoing and we will continue to review individuals, Pages, groups and content against our Community Standards.”
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Two weeks ago, the company also said it will ban white nationalist and white supremacist content. But just last week, Facebook said a video from Goldy — a former television personality and Toronto mayoral candidate — did not violate the company’s policies with a video touting well-known white nationalist propaganda about white people being “replaced” by other ethnicities.
“Facebook banning Faith Goldy was the test here in Canada that this policy would be meaningful,” said Evan Balgord, the executive director of the Canadian Anti-Hate Network, which tracks white supremacism and hate in the country. “The groups they are banning are only the tip of the iceberg in Canada and there are several others that should also be on that list.”
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The move comes as countries around the world enact laws to police the takedown of content on Facebook. Australia’s parliament passed a law that allows it to jail executives of social media companies if graphic violence is aired live. On Monday, the United Kingdom suggested that social media companies should be subject to a “code of practice” and overseen by an independent watchdog.
Balgord said Facebook hasn’t banned Yellow Vests, a movement that includes champions racism and white nationalism, or the Quebec-based groups Atalante Quebec and Fédération des Québécois de Souche. Balgord also suggested Facebook’s latest ban is reactionary, rather than proactive.
“Social media and tech giants have shown that they will only act after extreme public outcry or as a result of legislation,” Balgord said.
Before the company announced a ban on white nationalist and supremacist content, researchers noted fake news purveyors are using hateful anti-Muslim language for profit, and that this content also drives engagement that keeps people on the platforms and viewing ads.
“Islamophobia happens to be something that made these companies lots and lots of money,” Whitney Phillips, an assistant professor at Syracuse University who researched online harassment and extremism, previously told BuzzFeed News.
Craig Silverman is the media editor of Buzzfeed News. Jane Lytvynenko is a reporter for BuzzFeed News.
Marco Chown Oved is a Toronto-based investigative reporter. Follow him on Twitter: @marcooved
Alex Boutilier is an Ottawa-based reporter covering national politics. Follow him on Twitter: @alexboutilier